Published: 29th June 2020
NIT Tiruchy students call online exams discriminatory, start mail storm to get it cancelled
The students have sent emails to several media houses across the country requesting them to intervene on the same
In a bid to halt 'discriminatory' online end-semester exams, students of National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli have been sending emails to their administration and heads of departments requesting the same. Claiming that the emails yielded no results and were "termed as spam", the students have now resorted to mailing journalists and editors in media houses, educationists and activists across the country. Our inbox was flooded with over 50 emails from the students of the institute claiming how the online examinations were unfair to a whole lot of them.
When contacted, NIT-T Director Dr Mini Shaji Thomas said, "Only a small section of students are creating trouble as they don't want to write the exam. However, the Senate has decided to conduct the exams and we won't be able to cancel it unless the Ministry of Human Resource Development explicitly asks us to."
In the emails, the students have pointed out how all of them don't have access to study material and how adequate online classes were not conducted to ensure that exams are conducted. "Since the classes were paused, students have had little to no online classes. The majority of the students have had less than an hour of classes over the last three months," read one of the emails.
They also speak about how all students don't have access to the technology required to appear for these exams while some international students are also stuck in various parts of the country due to the lockdown. "In a national institute like NIT-T, students come from various locations and have unequal economic backgrounds. While some have stable internet connections and are capable of participating in the online exams, several others don't have broadband connections at their homes," said another email.
Moreover, students also spoke about their mental health issues and how they were being pressured to appear for examinations amidst the current situation. In one of the emails, a student said, "Not everyone is emotionally stable in the current crisis, with several being negatively impacted. Some students' summer internships were revoked and they are undergoing stress due to it."
In other mails, students also claimed that the institute had ignored the fact that some students were also busy with virtual internships over the summer, which they had secured from the institute's placement cell, leaving them very little time to prepare for exams. The students even said that not all of them have separate rooms at their homes to appear for exams peacefully. "We have sent an online petition to their administration that was signed by over 2,000 students," claimed another student.
In screenshots of an email exchange between the Director and a parent, attached to one such email, the students alleged the Director of the institute, Dr Mini Shaji Thomas, misrepresented facts — she has stated that only two NITs (NIT Warangal and NIT Durgapur) have cancelled exams when in reality, five of them (NIT Rourkela, NIT Warangal, NIT Surathkal, NIT Durgapur, NIT Agartala) have cancelled their examinations and have released circulars regarding alternate evaluation methods. Cancellation notices of various NITs were also attached to the email.
In a letter to the students and parents, the Director said, "We had closed the institute on March 15, after ten weeks of teaching, covering 65-75% of the portions. We created an online study material portal as early as March 20 and also conducted enough online classes." It also says, "We have completed the online examinations for final year students, the attendance was almost 100% and the results are encouraging."